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size and scope of the explosion, 170 homes, 170 either damaged or destroyed by this massive explosion. a crater 30 feet wide and 13 feet deep. >> the ntsb is heading to the scene to help investigate why. that will do it for us. thanks for getting up for a special edition of american morning. head to our blog. we hope you have a wonderful weekend. >> see you back here on monday. the news continues with kyra phillips. >> good morning and thanks. we are going to get right to the breaking news in san bruno, california. the neighborhood fire has been burn for almost 12 hours. natural gas feeding it. that fire is still so intense that crews can't even look for victims yet. at least three people are reported dead.
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the fire captain expects the numbers to rise. two dozen have been hurt and 100 homes damaged. it started with a ruptured gas line and a huge explosion. a team with the ntsb is headed to see what went wrong. crews and the red cross and doctors, nurses and neighborhoods were turned upside down in a flash. the blast and fire was so sudden and intense, people barely had time to react. one survivor said that the car bumper actually melted as he was racing away. he is talking with survivors. dan? >> we are in the bark parking lot of a parking mall. this is where many of the evacuees have shown up throughout the night. what authorities want these neighbors to do is to come here and state their address and let them know that they are okay, but the bottom line is we are
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not going to know how many fatalities we are looking at until fire crews can go into all of the homes that burned down one by one and check for themselves. according to the "los angeles times," six people dead. this fire broke out right now about 12 hours ago just after 6:00 p.m. local time. this is a time when many people have come home from work and that's one of the reasons why authorities believe that that death toll will climb. in all likelihood so many people were home. i want you to listen to one neighbor who left her house just as the flame were getting close. take a look. >> did you hear the explosion? >> oh, yes. it was huge. it felt like an earthquake. a big one. i got scared. i felt them before, but this one, the whole house shook. i got up to go into a doorway
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and my living room filled with an orange glow. when i went to my front door, i looked out and everything was just flame. >> we had a chance ourselves to get very close to the flame and what we saw was just utter devastation. it's a bit of a cliche to say, but it looked like a movie set. we were at an area at least what we thought was close to ground zero and everything in front of us was levelled. what really made an impact on us is that in the streets, blocks away from the ground zero area, we saw these chunks of concrete. it was apparent that the explosion caused much of the street to rip apart and hurling the blocks of concrete blocks away. it was an unbelievable thing to see. >> what are do we know about
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pg&e? we have been trying to get information about apparently a number of these people for a while had been smelling gas in the neighborhood. do we have any idea if they have been coming out to check the gas line or are they taking responsibility for this? do they have an investigative team? what do we know with how it got to this horrific point? >> some people detected anodor of gas for three weeks. according to one neighbor, pg&e came out and investigated and told this particular neighbor to go inside and shut his doors because the company was concerned for his safety and for the neighbors's safety. the gas odor persisted. we asked them about that and at this point they can't comment on it. the spokesperson didn't have enough knowledge about that.
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you are raising the central question here, had this been a lingering problem and did pg&e know about it and if they are indeed responsible for this, they will take full responsibility. that's what they are saying now. but no official word from them confirming that there was a presence or gas leak going on for many, many days. >> we will keep digging into that and investigate the cause. thanks so much. as we said, that fire has been burning for almost 12 hours. look at this ireport from jason who shot this video not long after the explosion. before the fire started whipping through the neighborhood. we will have more pictures over the next couple of hours and at 9:30 eastern, we will talk to a representative from pg&e. let's give you an idea where san bruno is. it's a suburb of san francisco in san mateo county south of the
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city. the neighborhood we are talking about is say couple of miles from san francisco international airport. we are expecting california's lieutenant governor to talk about what's happening in san bruno and the firefighting effort and the investigation. we will listen in on that in less than an hour about 10:00 eastern time and bring you the updates. the planned koran burning in florida is on hold again. pastor terry jones said at the moment he and his congregation do not plan to burn some 200 copies of the holy book on the anniversary of 9/11, but it comes as protests boil over. reuters is reporting that a protestner afghanistan was reportedly shot and killed outside a german-run nato base where thousands of people were rallying against the planned koran burning. a lot of late-breaking developments from around the
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globe to give us a clearer picture. this guy can't make up his mind. he is looking like a clown either way. >> pastor terry jones just talked to the gathering of the kbleed here and he was asked, are you going to new york. he said yes, i'm going to new york today for a meeting tomorrow. he has not gotten confirmation that that meeting will take place. they can't deny me a meeting, in his words. i asked him, there reports out that you have said that no matter what happens in new york, even if there is no deal, you will not go ahead with the koran burning. here's what he said. >> we are seriously, seriously considering not burning the korans. that's right. >> with all due respect, are you
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or aren't you? >> we are hoping to come to a conclusion. >> are you going to burn the korans or not? >> we are not prepared to answer that right now. >> again, while on the one hand he said he is seriously, seriously considering not, he is not ready to say it will not happen at some point. if he's in new york, it can't happen tomorrow. yesterday was a bizarre day of press conferences and contradictions. at the end of all that, we were left with one thing. at least at this point the koran burnings were on hold. suddenly and without warning, two men worlds apart in beliefs walked side by side to the microphones. pastor terry jones had a major announcement. an islamic learning center to be built near ground zero would be moved to a different location. jones for his part would not
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burn korans. >> the american people do not want the mosque there. of course muslims do not want us to burn the koran. he agreed to move the mosque. we have agreed to cancel our event on saturday. on saturday i will be flying up there to meet with him. >> pastor jones insisted he had a deal in new york brokered by the man at his side. wait a minute. he said he never made a deal or talked directly with the man. he talked only with his wife who agreed only to set up a meeting in new york on saturday. >> he is correct in his statement. there is no deal. we are not bartering, but i'm trying to resolve two delicate situations that have serious
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ramifications around the world. >> by the time you left here and walked out with pastor jones, it went from you saying that we can meet in new york and pastor jones said we have a deal and insists there is a deal. he stretched it? changed it? >> stretched it possibly. >> in new york, all that was transpiring in gainesville, florida came out of left field. he expressed gratitude that jones backed off koran burnings, but added "i have not spoken to pastor jones. i am surprised by the announcement." where does this leave jones? he is surprised too and changed his tune a bit going from saying no koran burning to it's now on hold. >> we assumed that what he told us was true. now we are in a state of limbo and we have to rethink our
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position. >> jones said he wants to talk with him sometime today before he decides what to do. it's fair to say no one knows where, when, or if a new york meeting will take place. here at this point he insists that he is still going to go to new york and going to leave today, but he does not have any framework in place for that meeting. he says he hopes and believes it will still take place tomorrow in new york. >> did he have anything to say about the death during the afghanistan protest? >> i asked him specifically about that and he said look, it's not my fault. i haven't even -- these are his words. i haven't done anything and they are already protesting and went on to say that it proved his point that radical islam is dangerous. that's how he spun that.
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>> hasn't done anything? he created this whole mess. >> exactly. he just doesn't see it that way. >> he needs a reality check. from gapesville, florida, thanks. 700 miles away from the firestorm, a church near memphis, tennessee is rolling out the welcome mat for the muslim neighbors who are building next door. the heart song church posted a welcome sign just a few day after construction began. the good will doesn't stop there. when leaders learned that the center wouldn't be ready in time for ramadan, they asked if they could use the church for prayer and he said of course. >> they are our neighbors. our call is to love them. >> we're saw the sign that said welcome and we were floored. >> what a difference from what's happening at ground zero.
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pastor hopes the gesture will send positive message about the coexistence of the two. president obama will cap a week of efforts highlighting efforts to boost the economy. it may be about recovery, but the president will face tough questions about the planned koran burning as well as the islamic center as well as the issue about the islamic center being built near ground zero. it's slated to start at 11:00 eastern time and kicks off the special coverage at about 10:45. we will get a preview from state of the union host candy crowley. the don't ask don't tell policy is unconstitutional. it bans gay men and women from serving openly in the armed services. the government is expected to seek a block to keep the law in place while appeals are actually filed. the issue could be headed to the supreme court now.
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those who came to help first face a battle of their own. i liz beth cohen faced a story of fight with cancer. of course we will continue to update breaking news out of san bruno. the national transportation safety board launched a team to investigate the explosion with the gas pipeline. this is a problem for firefighters as well. >> they were for sure. we had the winds kick up at the wrong time last night and they were gust when the explosion happened. we will talk about that and the fire in colorado and what's going on in the tropics. weather is coming up. [ male announcer ] set down your pencils. step away from the internet. schedule no meetings. hold all your phone calls.
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>> it was like an earthquake. a lot of rattling and the noise was phenomenal. it was so loud. it just kept shake. probably a good 10 minutes. >> that's just one of the many survivor stories we are hearing out of san browno. a gas fire still burning about 12 hours after it started with a huge explosion. at least three people reported
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dead. many more homeless. a ruptured gas line set this in motion. we will talk with the gas company in a few minutes. windy conditions are hampering firefighter efforts. rob is keeping track of all that. what do you think? >> it's calm right now, but not last night. you can get a marine layer that sets up with the marine push at night and that takes a lot of the burn off. once it burns off, you get a west wind and where the peninsula is. that's blowing sustained last night at 6:00. from 3:00 to 9:00 or 10:00, it was blowing about 20 miles an hour and gusting higher than that. that's the issue with this time of year. they will see similar conditions today although hoping not to be quite as bad. here's what's going on in the central part of the country. we have heavy thunderstorms in
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bowling green. what's left over with tropical storm hermine starting to rain itself out. we don't expect to see a tremendous amount of flooding in arkansas and oklahoma and missouri and texas the day before. wey are seeing less in the way of moisture with this system rolling across the northern tier. this is not going to bring a ton of moisture to the fire in boulder, but it will bring gusty winds. red flag warning for gusts to 30 miles an hour or so. the humidity at about 20%. as far as what's happening tropically speaking, here's thunderstorm igor. a depression now. it weakened overnight. it will probably restrengthen and it's looking good as far as the organization goes. they will get it back to tropical storm status before the day is done. here's the forecast with the national hurricane center bringing it to hurricane status by the beginning of next week.
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it gets it closer to the caribbean with the westerly movement at about 13 miles an hour. that's the latest on what's going on out west and in the east atlantic. >> we are expecting california's lieutenant governor to talk about what's happening with the evacuees and the investigation. that's in less than an hour at 10 a.m. eastern time. we will bring you the updates.
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>> you are looking atlive pictures of new york's ground zero. tomorrow marks nine years since the terror attacks that killed thousands of people and brought down the twin towers of the world trade center. the 9-11 workers who converged to dig, clean up and help. now many of them are facing a tremendous personal battle. elizabeth cohen has that story. i will never forget that live shot of you there at ground zero and huh to talk about the victims and the horrific scene there. it was very emotional. >> it was such a difficult time for everybody and just this week i spent time with a man who on september 12th, rushed down to ground to help. he is now ill.
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this is his story. september 12th, 2001. the remains of the twin towers a twisted smokey heap. >> when you got down there on september 12th, what was that scene like? >> it was like a horror movie. everywhere you went, there was dust. it was in the air and on the ground and on everything you touched. it was horrible. >> you were inhaling all of this? >> all of it every day all day. >> he was one of thens who sdened on ground zero to help. he set up portable toilets for the emergency workers. 10 hours a day, seven days a week. after a year at ground zero, he began to feel a stabbing pain. >> it was growing here. there was a lump. i went and had a biopsy and it t came back as cancer. >> hoary needed extensive
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surgery and six months of chemotherapy. with his scarred arm, he went back to work at ground zero. >> another lump came. >> they found cancer here and found cancer here. >> right. >> two tumors in two years. thomas started to think the toxic dust caused his cancer. >> right there is where it started? >> i'm sure of that. >> how can you be so sure? >> it's so coincidence of within a year of working i grew a lump in my hand and it turned out to be cancer. >> this doctor is taking care of thomas and hundreds of others from ground zero. >> he is convinced he got it at ground zero. are you convinced? >> it's not possible to know. >> she said more studies need to be done. in the meantime -- >> the cancer is back. >> it's in my lungs. this is the third time. it goes, it comes. you never get rid of it. it's a nightmare.
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>> a cancerous lump the size of a golf ball is in his lung and he will need more surgery and more chemotherapy. he said he is too sick to work, relying on charity to support himself, his wife and two children. hope arrived in the form of a letter. his share of the settlement for ground zero workers. >> you received this letter and how much mondeit say you would get? >> $83,400. >> is that enough to compensate? >> with all the deducks that, is supposed to last me for the rest of my life? i would rather not have anything. >> on september 12th when you were asked to go and help, you did. >> exactly. with pride. >> do you feel like you have been forgotten? >> yes. i know i have. instead of everyone cominging to and figuring out a way to help,
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they are figuring out how not to help you see $1. that's what i believe. >> wow. what does the science say? was the cancer caused by his work at ground zero. >> there is no good way to answer that question. the studies say yes people who worked at ground zero are getting cancer, but people get cancer and there is no way to link it and say there so many cancers we are sure it's the work at ground zero. really it's too soon. the experts say we won't know the answer to this for many, many years because it takes a while often for cancers to grow. one thing they agree on is there were carcinogens in the air, but to say he got the canser from those carcinogens, you can't say that at this time. >> a lot of people had respiratory problems. why is this money so low?
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because there were so many people involved? >> there were a lot of people involve skptd science just is not there. there is no evidence you can point to that said yes, sir, your cancer was caused by the work at ground zero. that's what he ended up with and he will try to fight it, but there is not a lot of hope for him financially. >> he is supporting a family and kids and how does he make money? >> he doesn't work right now. he is going to charity and catholic charities and other places to get food and soup kitchens and he said he is not able to work and now that he is about to have another surgery for the cancer in his lungs and more chemo, he is afraid it's a long time before he can work again. >> we're need to follow his story. >> you remember how hard it was to breathe. >> the closest i got was 11 blocks away and i remember holding up scarfs and it was very, very hard to breathe. there was clearly something in the air. >> glad you are reporting on the
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story. almost 6:30 now in san bruno, california. we are going to get live pictures of what's happening overnight. an entire neighborhood is pretty much gone and still burning. the fire apparently started with a ruptured gas line and explosion. one survivor has been smelling gas in the area for weeks. we are talking to the gas company in a few minutes to find out how it happened. 's luxury with fire in its veins. bold. daring. capable of moving your soul. ♪ and that's even before you drop your foot on the pedal. ♪ the new 2011 cts coupe from cadillac. the new standard of the world.
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♪ check the new hairdo check the mic one two ♪ ♪ 'cause i'm about to drop some knowledge right on top of you ♪ ♪ you check a lot of things already why not add one more ♪ ♪ that can help your situation for sure ♪ ♪ check your credit score ♪ free-credit-score-dot-com free-credit-score ♪ ♪ you won't regret it at all vo: offer applies with enrollment in triple advantage. i want to update you with live pictures out of san bruno. this neighborhood has been burning for more than 12 hours now. natural gas is what's feeding that fire. it's so intense that crews can't even look for victims yet. we know at least three people are reported dead and that fire captain that gave us that number said he expects that number to rise. more than two dozen people have been hurt and more than 100 homes damage and this started with a ruptured guess line and a
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huge explosion. here's one witness. >> woor he heard a great rumble that shook the house and figured it was an earthquake, but it had a completely different sound to it. when i looked out the kitchen window, as far as i'm concerned, i saw what i thought was a fireball coming towards the house. >> another survivor said he has been smelling gas in that area for weeks. listen to what he told our affiliate, kron. >> it started around three weeks ago. pge and came out and said to shut the garage and go inside. there was heavy strong gasses. after being in the neighborhood, they packed up and left, but the heavy smell was right down the street at the next stop sign. every day the heavy smell was come for example the gutter and sewer. >> for what you know, what did pg&e do about this?
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what did they tell you to do? >> they told us nothing. i don't know how anybody can not repair a smell and not find the smell. especially going to neighborhoods and other neighborhoods have smelled the same smell really strong. >> how long have you smelled it? >> a good three weeks. >> what did they tell you to do? >> just shut the door and go inside the house. that was it. you can see what happened. this is ridiculous. >> let's talk more about that ruptured gas line. we have blair jones from pacific gas and electric on the phone with us. mr. jones, what can you tell us with regard to what one of the residents in that neighborhood said about smelling that strong odor for a couple of weeks. your company did come out and what did they determine at the time? >> first of all thank you for having me on and i want to say our thoughts go out to everyone affected by the terrible situation. let me start with obviously a
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cause is yet to be determined regarding the incident. we know a gas transmission line was ruptured, but a cause is yet to be determined. regarding the gentlemen's comments there, a full investigation will be conducted surrounding this incident. that is something we will be looking into in the course of this investigation. right now our focus is helping to make sure the area is safe and that we are concentrating on restoring gas and electrical service as quickly andly as possible. >> story true what one of the residents said that pg&e came out a few weeks ago to investigate the strong smell? >> there will be a full investigation surrounding this incident and we will be participating in that and it will be looked at in the course of that investigation. right now our focus is making sure the area is and restoring
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service and working with emergency responders. >> sure, i understand. i got that. i'm asking to you verify did pge and investigate the smell a few weeks ago? >> and again, that will be something that is looked at during the course of the investigation. right now the focus is on the ground. >> you either did it or you didn't, mr. jones. you have neighbors saying there was a strong smell of gas and you have a massive explosion with dead people. did the company go out and investigate the smell? >> again, thank you for the question. there will be a full investigation. that's something we will look at in the course of the investigation. >> how will you be investigating? do you have a team of experts? what will you do? >> the national transportation safety board, the agency responsible for investigating natural gas pipeline incidents are expected to be on site to lead the investigation. they will be a principal party and source.
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we will be cooperating with them and other federal and local agencies in an effort to identify the cause of this accident. we will take all necessary steps identifiable through the process. >> if indeed pg&e is found responsible for the explosion, is the company prepared to take full responsibility for this? >> we will take all appropriate steps to assist those affected. if it is determined that we are responsible for the cause, we will take accountability. >> spokesperson for pacific gas and electric in california, thanks for your time. we will follow that investigation for sure. >> thank you for your time. >> tomorrow is the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and emergency workers from around the world have taken off uniforms and laced up running shoes. we will tell you about the 4600 mile run across the country. i want to give my 5 employees health insurance,
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but i just can't afford it. i have diabetes. i didn't miss a premium payment for 10 years. and i'm worried if i lose my job, i won't be able to afford insurance. when i graduated from college, i lost my health insurance. the minute i got sick, i lost my insurance. not anymore. not anymore. not anymore. america's healthcare reforms change lives for the better. to find out how it can help you, visit us at it's not just fair, it's the law.
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tomorrow is the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 terror ax tack and these runners want to make sure you remember every individual who was killed. they are firefighters, police officers and other emergency workers and they are honoring their comrades who died in the disaster. more than 400 in all. the runners are scheduled to arrive in new york tomorrow. the final destination of a 4600 mile juniory that began last month in california. the runners come from as far away as australia and one joins us now.
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he fights fires in the australian capital territory. joining him is kevin o'connor at the new york city fire department. great to see you. >> good to see you and thanks for having us. >> how are you? >> you must be the weaker of the two. he fessed up to shin splints and blisters. you have no complaints. >> guys like us have to carry guys like him. >> when he's off camera, it's a completely different story. >> i know you have to keep a sense of humor. this is no easy feat. on a more serious note, this is an incredible story you guys are telling through endurance and camaraderie. how did it all begin? it was an idea formulate friday a fellow aussie, right? >> that's right.
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we lost one of our firefighters last year in a big wildfire in victoria and he left three children and a fantastic wife. he actually called up and said let's do a run from the capital. it was really successful and it brought a lot of comfort to his family. during that he thought in australia we were affected by 9/11 and he said how about we do this for the americans and just try to do something with good will. that's how it began. >> that's amazing and kevin, what do you think of how this started overseas? now you have come together. this created quite a bond among you guys, yes? >> i would say so. the emergency service is a brotherhood and this trip has shown across our nation and across the sea how much we all have a common goal and we can
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come together with things like this. has been incredible. >> johnny, what do you think of how people have turned out from state to state. give us an idea of how people reacted to all of you. >> it's been unbelievable and humbling. my favorite moments of the trip, we are on two hours of sleep and the small town and a population of 500. they are lining the streets and have their local fire department volunteers and it can be 2:00 a.m. and they have gatorade and food for us and well wishes and we are only rolling through the town for a couple of seconds. we would love to stop and thank everybody and now i can thank everyone that has come out to see us. it kept us going. especially when we are hurting. you start running on air. it's great. they are paying us back in
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kindness and that keeps us going. it's awesome. >> every morning you guys get up and read names of those who died on 9/11. is that what keeps you motivated as you run? >> certainly. at the time the planes struck the twin towers, we stop whatever we are doing during the run and read off a list of names. we broke up the names to cover all the names tloud this whole trip. those days we run for those specific runners. any time you can get sore or tired, you think about those names and why we are here and it motivates you to keep going. we look at each other and we are all going through the same thing, living out of winnebagos. any second you get tired or discouraged, remember what we are here for. we look at each other and keep going. >> you guys talked about the positive response and how you are fired up to do this.
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is there a moment where it's been tough for you guys? >> living with kevin the whole time has been pretty tough. you talk about the sense of humor, he doesn't really have one so it's quite hard. >> i think there is a little bit of jealously here. >> not one part of this. >> everyone wants to be an american. you know that, kevin. >> he keeps borrowing my deodorant. what's up with that? >> i love how you keep your sense of humor. >> he smells so much, we have to have a good supply. back to your question. >> keeping your sense of humor for an amazing mission. we have to leave it there with how smelly kevin is. really, kevin o'connor and johnny, you guys look clean and
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well shaven today for the most part, johnny. thanks, guys. we appreciate what you are doing. it's wonderful to watch, guys. i salute you both. thanks so much. >> thank you. >> you would never use the trom bone or a flute to fill out a crossword puzzle. you may wonder why these kids are playing music with their pencils. it's a really of school budget problems. kind of sad what passes for a band instrument in this day and age.
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time now for the cnn equals politics update. we're looking ahead to president obama's news conference. it's his first since may and it's due to get under way in just about an hour for now. candy crowley is joining me from kraug. hay, candy. >> reporter: hey, how are you, kyra? the president's eighth news conference of the presidency, economy, economy, economy, and i would guess, a little bit about
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a certain pastor in florida, and the proposed burning of the koran tomorrow. what would the president like to discuss? he'd like to discuss his new plans to try to help jump start what has been a very sluggish economy recovery. also on our ticker today, looking at some of the news coming up, the president is also going to be put to work by the democratic national committee. they have him going out on the road in four key states, wisconsin, pennsylvania, nevada and ohio. if you think, wow, there's really key senate races in all of those places, you'd be right. what the president is going to try to do in these states is try to bring the enthusiasm you brought in the 2008 election, you need to bring to this one. the president is making the case as he goes to the states that it's every bit as important to give him a congress he can work with.
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finally, a new man on board, sort of a new man, goolsbee is taking over for crease tina roemer. the fact is this is someone who has been on board since the beginning, so the economic message is not going to change. they think goolsbee is good on television, and people inside the white house believe that while the president is the best spokesman, they need a couple more. they think goolsbee can fill that bill. candy will be back in a couple of hours. that's scheduled for 11:00 a.m. eastern. just aftersunrice in san bruno, california. live pictures from our affiliate kron in san francisco.
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a huge explosion and an intense fire. a whole neighborhood in ruins right now. that fire been burning for 12 hours. three people reported dead and many more homeless. in about an hour and 15 -- and access to thousands of free apps. all in one ultra-thin package. you want it, we got it. the samsung fascinate. only at verizon. [ male announcer ] it's luxury with fire in its veins. bold. daring. capable of moving your soul. ♪ and that's even before you drop your foot on the pedal. ♪
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well, you had to know bell, california wasn't alone. remember the story of ultimate government abuse? we were all over the corruption there in bell. we showed you how folks ran off their grossly paid underworked city manager and his assistant along with the police chief. now they are trying to get rid of the city councille. this time it's vernon, california, a few miles away. 90 residents there. listen to what their top city managers were making, about $1.6 million and getting sweet perks like first class airline tickets and swanky hotel rooms, making more money than the governor and the president of the united states. in a town that laid off workers and cut health benefits because of budget problems. pretty outrageous and insulting when you consider how the whole state of california are facing budget cuts.
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think about that as you watch this story out of sacramento. a band teacher teaching music without instruments. bethany crouch of ktsl shows us what is passing for a trumpet and a tuba in these hard times. >> reporter: okay, so maybe they're not quite ready for the symphony, but this is what music class should sound like. what happens when there aren't enough instruments to go around? one local teacher, donna pool, found the pen silt has more uses. >> use your air horn. if i wanted you to play the note d, i would show you where your fingers need to be. when you are out of resources, you have to find a way. you can't say you don't have any instruments. >> reporter: what they do have enough of? pencils. gabriel cooper, the principal, says being creative is a
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teacher's job. >> you want them to have an instrument, and to talk to a kid, and say i'm still learning. his is a good start. i can find the notes on my pencil. >> reporter: even if playing a pencil may seem silly. >> what is she talking about? >> feels weird. >> different going from a flute to a pencil and back to a flute. >> first, i was thinking i would never get the trumpet. >> reporter: these students aren't stuck playing pencils forever. the instruments are trickling in. >> i finally got it, and i was so happy, when i got home, i started playing it all day. >> reporter: that's an experience donna wants for every kid, not just her studentses. the san juan district says more instruments are on the way but they still need help in districts across the state. >> if you have an instrument sitting in your house, see if the school needs it. >> last check, about 15 to 20 students were still using
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pencils. that school is hoping to get more instruments soon. a sleepless exhausting night in san bruno after a gas line ruptured, an explosion happened, a huge fireball and a massive inferno. >> it was dante's inferno in there. it was the worst, most horrific fire scene i've ever witnessed. >> that's just one of the many stories coming out of there. three people are reported dead, and the fire captain expects that number to rise, too. more than 100 homes damaged and that fire is still burning. this is a neighborhood that is just a couple miles from the san francisco international airport. let's get straight to dan simon. he's been covering it through the night for us. dan? >> reporter: well, good morning, kyra. you can see that we have these microphones set up behind us. we're expecting a press
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conference in a little while this morning, hopefully get more information. now that we have daylight, it will give crews hopefully an opportunity to go into the homes one by one and search for possible victims. they might bring in cadaver dogs to ascertain if, in fact, there are bodies inside the home. the latest we are hearing according to "the los angeles times," six people confirmed dead. again, expecting that press conference in a little while. kyra, we actually had an opportunity to see some of these flames first hand a little after the firefighters arrived to the scene and what we saw, it's a bit of a klee say, but it really did look like a movie set. we want to show you what it looked like firsthand. there were early reports that a plane may have crashed into the hillside. those reports were not true, but you can understand why some might have been under that impression. when fire crews got here, this neighborhood where we are was just totally engulfed in flames.
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you can see right now all firefighters can do is take a defensive stance, try to put out flames and try to prevent some of the other homes from catching on fire. here is another vantage point of homes that caught fire. four or five homes totally leveled. fire crews doing nothing over there. a few moments ago, we heard a very loud explosion. we didn't know what it was but it turned out to be this white station wagon, 0 car explosion. we are right next to what we think was ground zero. you were see behind me everything was completely leveled. to give you an idea just how hot the fire was, i want to show you this. look at the back of this white volkswagen, the heat melting the tail light, and you can see that the explosion caused the concrete to travel a great distance. it is just lying here on the windshield of this car, a little chunk of it.
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one of the big problems firefighters are dealing with right now is the wind. you can see it on the crime scene tape, just kind of blowing around and you can city it with the smoke, helping to spread the flames. but eventually, the wind died down and that allowed firefighters to really get the upper hand on this blaze. also, critical for them to really make progress is that they were able to shut down that main gas line that was fueling that fire for so long. in terms of what happened, what we know, there was a natural gas rupture. how that happened, we just don't know whether or not there was some construction going on or if in fact, you know, there was some sort of a high pressure situation going on with that line. those are the questions that we're going to be asking the officials when they take to the microphones in just a little while. >> yeah, we weren't able to get any answers out of pg&e. i know you haven't been able to, either. we are waiting to find out if, indeed, they came out and
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investigated this strong odor of gas that residents there that you talked to have been talking about. they said that pg&e came out. they don't know what happened. now you have this massive explosion. do you have any idea, dan, when members of this investigative teams, pg&e or ntsb will be there on site to start looking at what happened? >> reporter: we are told that pg&e is already on site. the ntsb is on its way. presumably they'll be dealing with separate functions, but in terms of this strong owed dar that we've been hearing about, it's a very, sort of, puzzling mixture to all this. we're hearing at least from one neighbor that for about three weeks there was a strong owed dar of natural gas in the air. he says at one point pg&e actually came to the neighborhood and told him and some other neighbors to go inside their homes, close the
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doors, close their windows, because in this neighbor's mind, it was dangerous, and that the pg&e representative, if you will, wanted him to take shelter, take safety. so it's an interesting component to all of this. we asked pg&e about this earlier today, and they told us, at least the spokesperson told us, that he didn't have any knowledge about that, and that he was still in sort of the fact-finding mission, if you will, and hopefully we'll get some more of those answers later today and later this afternoon, kyra. >> great. in about an hour, we are expected california's lieutenant governor to talk more about what's happening in san bruno. we will listen in to that conference. also, the planned koran burning in florida is on hold at least for now. pastor terry jones says at the moment, he and his congregation don't plan to burn the koran tomorrow, the anniversary
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of 9/11 but hopes he can still meet with the developers of the ground zero mosque, a meeting he said was promised. developers say they did not make the deal. this comes as rallies are erupted around the world. reuters is reporting that a protester was actually shot and killed outside a german-run nato base. reverend jones says he's not responsible for that violence. >> do you feel you bear any responsibility for what happened? >> we do not feel we bear responsibility, no. what we feel happened is we brought awareness -- it is very clear that islam, radical islam is much more dangerous, violent and radical than we ever thought. they are doing things although we have done nothing. >> a lot of people want to know who this guy is. reverend terry jones leads a tiny flock of a few dozen people
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at his dove outreach center. before that, he ran a church in coal lone, germany, until he got the boot. phil black looks at the controversy. >> reporter: the leaders of terry jones' old church in germany believe that jones will go through with his plans because, they say, that's the sort of person he is, stubborn, strong-willed, someone who once he set his mind to something always follows through with it, but the key to emphasize is that this church no longer has any association with terry jones. they had a bitter separation back in 2008, we're told, over his style of leadership, the strength of his personality, the direction he was taking the church, but we have also talked to a protestant minister here who says he counselled dozens of his former church in this city, people whose lives have been forever damaged by their relationship with terry jones. he says jones was not just a
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dominant personality but he was manipulative, someone who through charisma was able to attract those who were lost, and very susceptible to what he describes as terry jones simple interpretation of the bible. when he was forced to leave in 2008, people here believe he lost a great deal of influence and control over those peoples lives. now in the united states, he's desperately trying to get it back. phil black, cnn, germany. now, the complete opposite of what's happening with regard to that mosque being built near ground zero. a southern church opening is basically laying out the welcome mat to its muslim neighbors and the two faiths sharing a common bond. we have the details from wmc in memphis. >> reporter: these words say it all. >> once we put up the sign, probably within three days,
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people from the islamic center contacted us, and they were overwhelmed with emotion. rur steve stone, pastor of heart song church said when he heard about plans for the memphis islamic center complex being built near his church, he knew he had to react. >> i don't know about islam. i know only one fellow who is a muslim. it was going to be a learning process for me, but we follow jesus, and he tells us to love our neighbors. >> reporter: stone hopes by putting out a welcome mat for muslims, it will send a strong message to people who associate christians with being anti-islam. >> people who associate christians with those afraid of muslims, i can't judge those people who are christian, but i believe to take the name of christ and be hateful and do hateful things is a real insult. >> reporter: to prove his point, stone says the heart song church
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congregation is taking its new relationship with members of the memphis islamic center one step further. >> their facility is it not quite finished, still isn't and came and asked us if they could use our facility for ramadan prayers which we took as a high compliment. >> reporter: stone hopes it's the beginning of a relationship that will inspire others to love their neighbors. >> a member of that center says that the growing friendship has broken down a lot of stereotypes and misconceptions among both communities. ramadan and road trip may not seem like a natural trip but two muslim bloggers visited 30 mosques in 30 states during the holy month. they have stories to share with us. we're checking back in with our favorite two muslims there that went on a very unique journey. we are following the breaking news on a ruptured gas
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line and huge explosion and intense fire still burning in san bruno, california. several people killed, many more hurt and homeless. we'll have that in an hour. in some of nature's best ingredients. we created purina one with smartblend. nutritionally optimized with real salmon, wholesome grains and essential antioxidants, for strong muscles, vital energy, a healthy immune system, and a real difference in your cat. purina one with smartblend. discover what one can do. now available at petsmart.
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take a look at this i-report from jason dell rosario. he shot this video after that huge explosion that happened 12 hours ago. before the fire started whipping through most of the neighborhood, which we are now covering full time for you, as an investigation is now looking into how this line ruptured in this neighborhood, already killing three, possible more, people. let's find out how the weather hopefully will help the efforts in knocking the fire down. >> the winds have knocked down over the past few hours. that will probably pick up. this is the time of year you get the marine layer in the morning and once it burns off, you get a pretty good sea breeze. yesterday, 21-mile-an-hour winds at 6:00, and at 3:00, they were
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pretty much calm. the timing couldn't have been worse as far as the weather goes and gusty through the night. windy condition across parts of the inner mountain west and heavy rain across the middle of the country. this is what's left over of tropical storm hermine. it will finally rain itself out and wring itself out and we shouldn't see the torrential rains that we saw in oklahoma, texas and arkansas. system rolling through the northern plains. this will create wind gusts in the boulder area, and we have a red flag warning in effect for this area as they battle that blaze to the west of boulder. speaking of the mountains, this area, you are looking at the southern coast of italy there. look at the video coming out of altrani. extreme terrain, five inches of rain, and debris flowed down
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this mountain community wiping out everything in its path. look at the cars piled up on top of each other trying to get through this tiny road. unbelievable stuff there. probably well over a dozen cars being wiped down this mountainside community heading towards the mediterranean, i guess. i never have seen anything like that. unbelievable stuff in beautiful quaint little towns that dot the coast, and get a lot of rain, and the mudlied wiping out the cars. >> that's a beautiful part of that country. it's never fun when your car breaking down in the middle of the road in the middle of nowhere. many times kind people will come over and help. for this soldier, it's a full-time mission. o give my 5 employees health insurance, but i just can't afford it. i have diabetes. i didn't miss a premium payment for 10 years. and i'm worried if i lose my job, i won't be able to afford insurance. when i graduated from college, i lost my health insurance.
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welcome to progressive. nice calculator. i'm just trying to save money on my car insurance. you know, with progressive, you get the option to name your price. is that even possible? uh, absolutely. trade? and i still get great service? more like super great. oh, you have a message. "hello." calculator humor. i'll be here all week. i will -- that was my schedule. the freedom to name your price. now, that's progressive. call or click today. a story now about a soldier who is going beyond the call of duty and definitely making his
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mark. after a long day at a an army combat training base in south carolina, staff sergeant david schimmel travels the interstate helping motor riffs. he started his nonprofit one-man operation a year ago and has helped more than 300 people. >> anybody that's stuck on the side of the road, stranded for a period of time, i just pull over and ask them what they need. i wouldn't leave a fallen comrade. that's part of the soldier's creed and that same thing applies to people on the road. >> he never asked for money, but occasionally people will try to give him some. he never keeps it, though. he donates it to a charity that helps wounded warriors. firefighters still battling a gas-fueled fire that's devastated san bruno, california. at least three dead and that number expected to climb. at least 53 homes destroyed.
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pg&e says its gas line ruptured. a federal judge says the don't ask don't tell spalls unconstitutional. it bans gay men and lesbians from serving openly. president obama holding his first white house news conference since may. our live coverage begins in just about 30 minutes. the u.s. puts out a kill or capture order on a suspected terrorist planner, but he could be more dangerous dead than alive.
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the u.s. wants anwar al walkie dead or alive. they believe he may be planning terror strikes, but even if u.s. operatives are able to take him out, they run the risk of making him a martyr. drew griffin has more. >> reporter: four years ago in london, this man first herd and first began to see how this english-speaking cleric was attracting young muslim students like himself. they all all that awlaki was brilliant. >> there aren't that many muslim-born american or british scholars, and he is one of them. so the appeal is obviously fantastic. >> reporter: anwar awlaki was
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young and spoke american english eloquently. he was a rock star, but then, almost overnight, this man said his message took on a more sinister tone. >> the evolution is what worries me. here is someone who is telling us we should be praying and behaving in a particular way and holding up the moral high ground as muslims should, and suddenly he is saying there should be a call to violence. >> reporter: he now preaches hatred and according to u.s. intelligence sources, he recently became not just a preacher of violence but a planner. >> he is not just recruiting and motivating jihadists, but it's believed that senior al qaeda leaders in the arabian peninsula, specifically yemen, are listening to him. >> reporter: in other words, this english-speaking mouthpiece for a global jihad is working to kill westerners, as believed was done by awlaki and ft. hood
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shooter major hassan. the u.s. government has decided he is an enemy and issued a capture or kill order for him. pat demorro is the director of the fbi's counterterrorism division. should we kill him? >> the primary goal is to protect our citizens globally, and when you have information of individuals that are planning to conduct terrorist attacks in our espousing rhetoric to invigorate others or get others to conduct those attacks, then that individual is a threat to our national security. >> reporter: but there is a risk. awlaki was virtually an unknown just a few years ago, now he's front page news being compared to osama bin laden himself. killing him, says tom fuentes could turn hip into a legend.
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>> i believe in yemen we elevate him further if we actually do kill him. we'll make him a martyr, and his videos and recordings and writings will live on and on. >> reporter: this man says killing him will eliminate any possibilities of learning why awlaki turned from recruiting young men to islam to now recruiting them to kill. >> i think killing him will add fuel to the fire and completely marginalize for those who agree he is wrong but want to know why this happened. >> why this happened, and why an american would turn radical muslim. >> there is some value, although idealistically from this college student to find out why it happened but in dealing with these people and talking to counterterrorism officials, there is no national explanation to figure out why it happened. number one, they don't engage in
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rational conversation with moderate muslims or anybody from the west. they basically want sharia law over the entire world. they are in a thousands year war in their minds and there is no rational way to figure it out other than they're crazy. >> you bring up a good point, even if you do catch him, he's crazy, so would you figure out what happened to make him switch like that? >> in the hopes of trying to go and interject that thought on others who are following in his path. i mean, everybody has tried, looked at that. the best you can do is capture him and find out what he knows about future terrorist attacks and try to avert that, but to learn about his inner workings have why he comes to the irrational conclusion that he has to kill americans, i don't think it's going to go very far. >> you can catch drew's special tomorrow night 8:00 p.m. eastern right here on cnn.
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road trip for ramadan. these guys did 30 mosques in 30 states in 30 days. once they got pulled over by a cop, but our interview actually helped them get back on their way. you'll here the story straight ahead. [ funny voice ] hey, broom! wanna sweep and mop like swiffer sweeper? then try the mop club for brooms! designed to look natural, even when wet. ♪ [ female announcer ] sorry, broom, but swiffer sweeper's electrostatic dry cloths attract and lock more dirt than a broom. and the dirt dissolving wet cloths clean better than a mop, or your money back. ♪ she blinded me with science anople really lover, i jugot ae our claimservice. gecko:speciallthe auto repair xpress. repairs are fast and they're guaranteed for as long as you is thisyyourcphone?ey, th! gecko: yeah, 'course. sswhere do you po you...carry... for as long as you is thisyyourcphone?ey, th! waitress: here you go.
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just about 15 minutes, our special coverage of a live news conference is going to take place with the president of the united states, taking q&a. our host of "state of the union" candy crowley, will take over and help kick off that live event starting at 11:00 eastern time. if you are just tuning in, we want to give you more information about that gas line
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explosion in san francisco. survivors are now talking about how hellish last night's blast and pyre have been. one guy even said it was like dawnty's inferno, and another compared it with an earthquake. >> it was like an earthquake and a lot of rattling, and the noise was phenomenal. it was so loud. and it just kept shaking probably a good ten minutes. >> and the fire is still so intense that crews can't even look for victims yet. at least three people are reported dead, however, the l times are reporting that six people have died in this explosion. several more have been hurt, many more homeless and the gas company is promising to look into one resident's claim that he's been smelling gas in that area for three weeks. we expect california's lieutenant governor to talk more about what happened in san bruno in a news conference that should get under way next hour.
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a ramadan road trip may not be the most conventional way to spent islam's holy month but two bloggers loaded up the car to go on a trip. they hit up 30 mofbs in 30 states with the goal of tearing down barriers, and in some cases, that meant their own stereotypes, like when they pulled up to a confederate souvenir store on their way to florida. stars and bars, as you can see, were flying high. the bloggers expected some hostility, but, instead, they found some good old southern hospitality. >> everyone else in the car says, we're not going in, no, no. i'm the kind of person, when you tell me not to do something that motivates me even more to do it. i said, you guys are sissies, i'm going in. when we stepped outside the car, the people on the bench said, great weather today, welcome,
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welcome. the guy inside was talking about his shop and saying i'm friendly to everyone. >> thanks to our guys at for documents that. joining us from detroit -- i wish they were in studio with me. comedian aman ali and bassam tariq, both bloggers, their journey is over. did you have a good time? >> we had a blast, all over the country, not 1200 miles, 12,000. >> major typo there. oh, my goodness. we have to get our facts straight. i have to apologize. >> no worries. >> there's a couple things i want to talk to you about, some hilarious store, but serious stuff, too. let's start with ross, north dakota because i wanted to know what was one of the most memorable moments out of this whole trip, and you said it was this mosque, apparently the oldest mosque in the united
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states. is that right? >> that's correct. it's technically the first mosque ever built in the united states, built in 1929 and the cool thing about it, there was a cemetery nearby, and you saw grave stones of muslims born in the 1800s, war veterans and all of these things. it shows you how rich and deep our roots are in this country. i am a history nerd and i didn't know anything about this place. i went on the internet, and we found a paragraph on a website about this. we found it. i was ashamed i didn't know how far back our history goes in this country. >> what about for you? what was the most touching moment about the mosque? >> i think what was cool is how we ended up there. our car broke down in montana, and we had to go to fargo, north dakota, and it was a 12-hour drive. we had about eight hours to get somewhere because we had to be somewhere to break our fast at
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8:00. we went to ross, north dakota, because we googled it and found a place called muslim cemetery. we thought, great, we'll go there. the local pastor connected us with the person there because ross, north dakota only has 48 people and that's fascinating that the first muslim community to ever be built in america is in a place with only 48 people. >> wow. all right, alabama. titled on the blog, epic failure. okay, what happened, aman? >> okay, so we left jacksonville, florida, to go to birmingham, alabama, and before we left jacksonville, we heard that in mobil, all of the dealerships are owned by muslim, so we were calling there and franticly calling people, and we
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go to the mosque, and they said, who are you, what, okay? they didn't listen to the voice mail we left for them. we had some of the guys hanging out with us, and they come inside. the guy was like, who are you guys with,, and like a baseball umpire, he was like out. we were like wait, what happened? we found out later, from what i understand, there was a student nearby who used to attend that mosque who went to somalia to fight with this terrorist organization and came back to alabama and was spying on military bases. he was convicted and they brought horrible evidence against him and one of the people we spoke with was his father. so that just like creeped us out, but, you know, at the end of the day -- we were worried going there, we're not going to have a post to write about, and we had this post. >> had you to draw pictures,
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right? you couldn't take photos, so you sketched out what happened. the islamic society of mobil, artist's poor depiction. >> we didn't have anything to work with. we felt, hey, we'll just draw it. i like making little scribbles, so, hey, it worked out. >> yes, it did. your creativity befuddles me. then comes another very memorable moment, and that was when you were pulled over by a cop, and the best part here is that aman was driving, and you were singing along to phil collins "you'll be in my heart" swerving on the road. beautiful. i can see it and hear it. tell me what happened. >> exactly. we were driving late at night and there was a cop behind us. i thought, oh, my god, was a speeding and what? you reflect on your life.
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i know i burned a few cds at one time. i moved to the far right that lane, and as soon as i did that, his flashers turn on. we pulled over to the side and he asked for my license and registration, and i give them to him and he looks at my license and says i need to see your driver's license. that is a state i.d. card. bassam is a passenger, and he asked for his license, and we're all confused. we're processing that this is really bogus, a bunch of crap. we are complying. we don't want any trouble. we need to get to where we need to get to. he looks at bassam's card and asks me to step out of the car. i step out of the car and walk ten feet behind the car. he asked questions. we told him, blogging, going to muslim communities. he said, okay, let me talk to your friend real quick and he went to bassam and asked him questions in the car. >> what's great is i had my
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laptop out and the cnn interview went up, and i saw that and showed it to him, and i said, hey, we were on krn, and he says, great, you're famous. he says, what do you think about the ground zero mosque? >> he's engaging a conversation about the mosque controversy. i love it. >> a month ago you interviewed us at the studio in atlanta. we loaded it up and showed him and he said, oh, okay. you save you had us from being arrested. >> show our interview, and you are justified. i could talk to you, just like last time, with your pictures and stories, it's fantastic. i can't wait for the book, the movie. i know it's coming soon. we will keep people posted on your travels. aman, bassam, congratulations. what a fantastic trip.
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>> thank you so much. >> thank you. we will keep you posted on the breaking news in san bruno, california, just outside san francisco, that gas explosion and the fire that's destroyed this entear neighborhood. it's still burning, and officials still have not been able to tell us the cause of what happened. we're investigating it, following it. we'll bring you more after the break.
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let's check our top stories. the death toll still climbing from the natural gas explosion in san bruno, california. at least three people confirmed dead but firefighters are unable to reach or search for more victims. more than 50 homes destroyed, more than 100 others damaged. dan simon once again joining us from there with an update on the investigation. in florida, a preacher says he and his church are still considering the koran book burning that has stirred anger and concerns across the world. terry jones said he cancelled
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the event after he was promised that the ground zero mosque would be moved. the developer denied he was changes his plans. iran says it will release one of the three hikers held for more than a year. sarah will be released tomorrow, and the two men will remain in iran accused of spying. let's get you updated on the break, news we've been reporting all morning out of san bruno, california, that ruptured gas line that caused a huge explosion and intense fire. the fire has been burning for more than 13 hours. this is just south of san francisco. the neighborhood we're talking about is a couple of miles from the san francisco international airport. dan simon with the latest right now. dan? >> reporter: well, hi, kyra. i think you have to say there are really two pressing questions right now. how many fatalities are we dealing with and what waused that huge gas line to go up in flames? was there some kind of
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explosion? was there a high pressure within that gas line? that's really what we're trying to piece together here. as you can see, there's a bit of activity behind me. you can see that there's a press conference that's been set up here, and we're anticipating some speakers to come to the microphone in just a short while, but, kyra, the latest numbers that we have -- and they haven't fluctuated over the past few hours -- we're talking about 53 homes destroyed, 120 homes seriously damaged and 6 people dead according to "the los angeles times." as we have been talking to firefighters and people who have surveyed the scene, and we have spent time there ourselves, everybody seems to be anticipating that now that you have daylight and they can search homes more, they are expecting unfortunately to find more bodies. >> dan simon covering that story for us in san bruno, california.
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thank you so much. we're just about 15 minutes away now from the top of the hour and we're standing by to bring you president obama's news conference live from the white house, but, first, we're going to hand it over to my colleagues and political experts, part of the best political team on television. candy crowley and john king in washington, d.c. thanks, kyra. welcome to our special coverage. a live picture of the white house there where in about 15 minutes the president of the united states will have a rare event at the white house, full-blown press conference in the east room. we are just over seven weeks from the midterm election. the president is trying to get his message on the economy out, to help democrat candidates turn the tide in this campaign. we expect him also to be questioned about other breaking news stories. there is the koran burning controversy down in florida and
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so many other issues. we may have to interrupt to go to a live event in california, a pipeline explosion in san bruno, california. we are tracking two live events. let's take a peek inside the east room of the white house. until he speaks, let's talk over the stakes of what we expect to hear from the president and why it matters so much in this midterm election campaign. joining us, candy crowley. a rare event for this president. many people would say why 11:00 on a friday morning? >> well, because the time's available. any moment he can use at this point to try to move voters to the polls. because that's where we are. i don't think you can move voters on the actual policies. what you have to do is go find your voters and get them to come to the polls. he has to do that. it seems to me that the white house and democrats in general have moved from sort of search and rescue to recovery. what they are trying to do is trying to mitigate their losses
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coming up and i think this is part of that. >> a great way to put it. >> let's go inside the east room. ed henry is standing by. i spent eight years covering that building. this is an interesting moment, trying to figure out what you'll ask the president and tell us what your reporting tells you about why this and why now? >> reporter: they know this is an important moment right now. it's about 20 months since he took office with so much hope and history. now it's a difficult moment, many of his own supporters angry feeling he squandered some opportunities and may be on the verge of losing control of both chambers of congress in just under two months. so there's a lot on the domestic front largely because of the economic anxieties that have put so many democrats on the ropes this midterm election season. we can't forget he is an commander in chief still executing two wars. that could be a lot of the questions on the plate today. even though combat operations
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have been declared over in iraq, we have over 50,000 u.s. troops on the ground there, and now he has over 100,000 u.s. troops in afghanistan. he is executing a surge in afghanistan, and by all accounts it's not exactly going well right now. this administration is going to have a major review of afghan policy coming out at the end of the year in december. that's on the agenda, and as you noted, there's a lot of other issues out there, like the potential koran burning and a lot that could be asked because the last time he had a full-blown press conference at the white house was back in may dealing with the oil spill. s that has passed but he's dealing with other crisis since then. >> candy, you know this because you spent a lot of time in the building. ed's getting ready, waiting for the president. then you figure out, am i going to third, what question would i ask? if i'm fifth what will i ask?
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>> if i'm fifth and he left something open, do i ask that question? i want to bring in david gergen. you have seen the other side of this equation. we have seen the reporter's side. is this a crisis news conference being called much like the oil spill or just time to get his economic plan out there once again? how do you see this? >> candy, much the latter. it was planned a few days ago, and clearly it was supposed to be the capstone for the rollout of these new stimulus packages, tax packages that the president's putting troerd this week. i think the unfortunate position the white house found itself in is that the proposals got mixed reviews even from democrats. the business community was somewhat tepid, and the white house is frustrated over that. they want to use this conference to reach a bigger public but the other problem is so many people have been tuning the president out. if you look at the numbers of americans who watched his first
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primetime address to the country, 52 million people tuned in for that. when he gave the iraq address just a few days ago, 29 million. >> john, david brings up a good point. we always have talked all along with president obama that his problem isn't the republicans, it's the democrats. >> the president always has many different audiences when he speaks to the american people. in this case, he speaks to the world but his most important audience is a democratic party and candidates who have a mild if not severe case of jitters as to whether to run on this president's agenda. dana bash is on capitol hill. dana, if the democratic candidates are watching the president, and, of course, they will be, what are they looking for and what are they worried about? >> reporter: they are worried about their democratic base. i was talking to a strategist this morning who gave me an interesting number from internal democratic polls, and that is they are seeing a 10% to 15 rs
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dropoff of obama voters to those who want to get out in this election cycle. that's terrible for all of the candidates. terrible big picture for the democrats who want to keep control of the building behind me. they are hoping he continues broadly on the message and more specifically with the energy in the big speeches this week, talking about the democratic case on the economy, and even more importantly, to lay out the contrast with republicans. one funny conversation i had with the democraticic strategist is they hope he stays on the message and doesn't have a henry lewis gates moment in answering the question and that takes the lead and makes the headline in this press conference as to what they need, which is the economy. >> i think, candy, a key point in that reporting is that the democrats, some are running from the president and some are willing to stand with the president, but the president has decided in recent days to try to get his voters, obama voters,
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not necessarily democratic voter, to come out and vote. he's saying, i need this, this is about me, don't give up your hope, don't give up on me. >> because as unpopular as the president's policies are at this point at least according to the polls, he still retains popularity. there are people who like the guy but are not necessarily liking where he is going. we want to bring in other political analysts and gloria borger. he wasn't able to get them in the polls in new jersey. he wasn't able to get them to the polls in virginia, or massachusetts. how is the president going to convince people do this one for me again. >> he says please. please come out and vote. it's interesting because i think the white house is trying to do two different things. on the one hand, you talk to political trat gist, and they say these are hand-to-hand combat races, local races, local
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issues. it's not going to be a referendum on barack obama but they are turning it into a referendum on barack obama because they probably believe he is the only one who can get these people out to vote. he has to give them a reason, candy. he has to give them a message. we were out in ohio and we interviewed democratic voters. you ask what's the message of this midterm election from the democrats, and they had no idea. so what the president is going to do is try and use this tax cut issue as a message and say, we want to make the tax cuts for the middle class permanent and the republicans are going to try to hold that hostage because they don't want to raise taxes on the wealthy. that's kind of the last-ditch effort to try and get voters out. >> how do you do that, donna? how do you do it in a sense when off wave election in your favor. people are running out to vote, all you have to do is tell them where to go. when they don't want to come --
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democrats don't have time to change the strategic ark? >> i think president obama has enough appeal to rally his base to the polls. these are generic polls. we are not talking about candidate x and candidate y. we are talking about where the momentum might be right now, but i think in the long run, democrats will come out because all that the president needs to do is remind them we are not going back to the bush policies. i have to interrupt. there was a deadly explosion in san bruno, california. let's go and liften in while we wait for the breaking news from the president. >> we have the chief from the fire department, and we have president chris johnson from pg&e. we are joined by senator leland
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yi, and assembly member jerry hill who represents this district as well. there's jerry, and one of my most important partners, harold brooks from the red cross always out there doing a fantastic job. we closely worked with state and local assets to this fire, our lieutenant governor and acting governor in the absence of governor schwarzenegger has been an important patter in in a leadership role. after the local state of emergency was declared, we also declared a state of emergency by the state. lieutenant governor and acting governor maldano asked me to ask for an assistance grant from fema. our important fema partners, nancy warden and craig fugahe granted that.
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it's my pleasure to introduce to you my friend and our partner, the lieutenant governor able mahdanado. >> good morning, everybody. as you know, governor schwarzenegger is in asia this morning. i talked to him about 25 minutes ago and talked to him about what's on par here in the city of san bruno, and i asked if he needed me to say anything. he said to thank the men and women on the front lines helping the people of san bruno, so i'm here to do that, and i also want to thank mayor dwayne. when i came here late last night, he was here, obviously, with a sad face, because this is a horrific tragedy. our hearts go out to those impacted by this horrible disaster. without warning, many of these people's lives have been changed forever, and my deepest prayers go out to everyone. we know that a natural gas line
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ruptured yesterday around 6:24 p.m., but we don't know what caused it or what happened. we will find out soon. here's what we do know right now. the fire has burned 15 acres in the city of san bruno. it is 75% contained, 38 structures have been destroyed. seven structures have been damaged. we have had 52 patients, 3 critical burned folks that have gone to the hospital with third degree burns, 4 firefighters have been transferred to the hospital, and 4 people have been killed. and we have one shelter at this moment open at the evacuation center with approximately 25 people as of this morning. i want to say what we did last night.
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we deployed 67 pieces of fire apparatus, including 21 local fire engines. 18 cal fire engines, and 20 cal mutual aid engines, and 1 helicopter. we deployed doziers, and many water tenders, and this morning we have 12 canines on site. we are deploying 30 more engines here to san broken know. california emergency management agency opened the emergency center and the state operation center in sacramento last night. team ma approved a fire management assistance grant. we call it fmag, that will help pay for the fire fight. the city of san bruno last night
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proclaimed a local emergency, and right after the city claimed a local emergency, i with extraordinary impact of this disaster declared an emergency to open the door to pay for firefighting and recovery. i also want to thank the local volunteers and red cross and everybody who has been here to help. i want to say a few words briefly in spanish on what we do know right now. [ speaking spanish ] >> you have watching there live coverage. he gave an update on the fire there in english and now in spanish. we will continue to follow those events. we are just now about two minutes away from a press conference by the president of the united states here in washington wag in the east room. the president will name a new top economic adviser. he will try to tell people that times are tough but his plan will work.

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